Down-scaled Cosega project to begin generating wind power

After more than five years in the planning, Argentine power co-operative Cosega will start generating wind power this month, albeit on a smaller scale than originally intended because of the country's economic crisis. Cosega -- the Co-operativa de Servicios Públicos de General Acha -- which serves the town of General Acha in La Pampa province, had planned to install eight, 900 kW turbines and had acquired leasing agreements from NEG Micon and Ecolatina. Cosega would have bought the output for eight years at premium rates before taking over ownership of the equipment. These plans, however, "were left behind in the Argentina of old," Cosega chairman Roberto Zamora says. As a result, the first of just two turbines is expected to begin operations this month, six months later than planned, with the second following at the end of December. The delay is due to the federal government's corralito banking restrictions, which prevented the co-operative from withdrawing money from its account. Cosega expects authorisation this month. When the project was conceived, it was thought that investment would be recovered in seven years, but in the present climate "not even in 20 years" could it be done, Zamora says, adding, however, that "a different Argentina has to emerge, and that time frame would shorten." One possibility is negotiating carbon credits in the event that the Kyoto-inspired emissions market ever takes off. The two turbines will enable Cosega to substitute about 30% of its average power demand that it buys from the grid.

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